This morning we announced in a press release our new strategic alliance with BBVA Compass, the 15th largest bank in the United States and the American arm of one of the biggest banks in the world, BBVA. Understanding that solid footing and a great reputation are the most important aspects of any financial services company in these challenging times, the decision to work with BBVA Compass was an easy one, as they provide both. Not only that, but BBVA can handle the scale of the considerable growth we’re experiencing, while quickly giving us access to millions of customers who have yet to learn of SmartyPig, as well as the global markets we are planning to enter. Simply put: We could not be more excited.
On August 1, 2010, with your permission, SmartyPig and West Bank will securely transfer your customer data and funds on deposit in your SmartyPig savings account from West Bank, our current bank services provider, to BBVA Compass. In order to keep your SmartyPig account active and your savings goals current, you must log into your account and authorize this transfer of funds and the opening of a BBVA Compass savings account. Please note that your funds will remain FDIC insured at all times to the fullest extent provided by law. All things being equal, aside from authorizing your new BBVA Compass savings account, you’ll likely never notice a difference… Oh, except for the simple fact that having a powerhouse like BBVA behind us will lead to a much better SmartyPig experience for you, as we begin to roll out some exciting new products and features over the next 90 days. All of which are designed to help you get the most money for your money.
So if you are an existing customer, what do you need to do?
Simply log into your account now, to authorize the transfer of funds in your West Bank savings account to your new BBVA Compass savings account. It will take fewer than 60 seconds.
What if I don’t have a SmartyPig account but am thinking about opening one?
Not a problem. All new customers will be asked to authorize the transfer of funds from their West Bank savings account to their new BBVA Compass savings account during the registration process.
When we began to build SmartyPig some three years ago, saving was at an all-time low, living on credit was a way of life, and we were nearing the dawn of an economic meltdown. And while the waters are far from calm, individuals and families the world over understand better than ever that we now have to be wise with our money and we have to make it work for us harder than ever. With BBVA behind us, we can help spread the message far and wide about not just creating goals, but the true value that exists of sticking with and finally reaching those goals.
For more information, please visit the BBVA Compass site here:
Thanks for being a part of this terrific adventure. If I can ever be of personal assistance or you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. And as always, best of luck with your goals!
****** June 9, 2010 – IMPORTANT UPDATE BELOW ******
Since many of you have asked about the rationale and motivation on our move from West Bank to BBVA Compass, and in the spirit of transparency, let me provide some insight on the process we’ve followed.
First of all, we’ve known for some time that SmartyPig would outgrow West Bank and have spent the past six months looking for a new banking partner. How did we know that we needed a new banking partner when West Bank was doing a great job and was such a perfect banking partner? West Bank told us.
Let me try to explain what happened in lay-persons terms. When we began this venture with West Bank we (West Bank and SmartyPig) knew if we were successful, we would outgrow West Bank. From a risk management standpoint, it is not prudent for West Bank to have a significant portion of its deposit base from one source. When the SmartyPig related deposit base passed 10 percent of West Bank’s deposits, we began discussing alternative banking alliances.
Our criteria for a new banking partner were pretty simple. First of all we needed a banking partner that had the size to accommodate SmartyPig deposits today and for the foreseeable future. Second, we wanted to choose a partner with a healthy balance sheet. Third we looked for synergy – a bank that embraced innovation and would welcome SmartyPig as a partner.
So for much of the next four months (and 62,000 miles in the air), we spent time visiting executives at almost every large U.S. bank. Without disclosing details, I can assure you that the range of discussions we had was amazing. Some banks understood SmartyPig, some didn’t. Some understood innovation and some wouldn’t recognize innovation if it bit them. It was quite an experience, to say the least.
During this time, West Bank commented in it’s quarterly reports that due to the success and expected growth of SmartyPig, SmartyPig was working to find another banking alliance by the end of 2010.
While there were a number of contenders to become our banking partner, in the end there was one clear choice that met and exceeded all of our criteria – BBVA Compass. They were our first choice and we really hoped we could consummate a deal with them.
BBVA Compass is a U.S. based bank headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama and have been in continuous operation since 1964. They have approximate 65 times the deposits of West Bank and have a parent company headquartered in Madrid, Spain with deposits of over $765B in deposits and 48M clients. Even with all of the turmoil in the U.S. and Spanish markets, they have never received any bailout from any government, and operate with a strong balance sheet. For those of you still concerned about the security of your deposits, all customer funds are FDIC insured at BBVA Compass the same as they were at West Bank.
Innovation is a hallmark of BBVA Compass, both in the U.S. and worldwide. I’ve been to their headquarters in Birmingham and Madrid, and am extremely impressed with their focus on innovation. In all of our discussions they embraced the concept of SmartyPig and have been as supportive as any potential partner could of our new thoughts and ideas. No, we’re not content to sit back and let SmartyPig stay as is: we’ve got lots of new ideas, features, and functions that we’ll be rolling out this year – stay tuned.
With our decision made, we just spent the past few months formalizing our relationship and making final plans to transition our deposits from West Bank to BBVA Compass. On Monday we formally announced the relationship and have received very positive press. SmartyPig customers have until July 19th to opt-in to the transfer of funds. At that point anyone who hasn’t opted in will have all funds plus interest returned to the bank where your funds originated. If you’re not sure or want more time to decide – choose no (effectively opting out of the transfer) and you’ll have full access to your account. At such time as you’re comfortable with the transfer, login and change your option before July 19th.
This transition (besides the opt-in process) will be transparent to our customers. The only change will really just be where the deposits sit.
My only sadness in this post is that we’re leaving a great partner – West Bank. They’ve been there with us from the very beginning from the time that Mike and Jon had the vision of SmartyPig sketched out on a few sheets of paper. They’ve incubated us, supported us, guided us, and have been great partners and friends.
So as we move forward I welcome your comments, challenges and requests for more information. As always my contact info is public – email: firstname.lastname@example.org and cell: 512-636-5200.
Bob Weinschenk, CEO